Gratitude 21August17 The Sun Loved The Moon

Today we are being gifted with a rare once in a lifetime cosmic observation of a total solar eclipse. The last total eclipse was back in 1918, and there was an eclipse in 1979. However, only the far northwest United States was able to view it.

This celestial event occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. Because of the rate of speed, the earth is rotating around the sun, the eclipse will be happening relatively fast. The actual eclipse being 2 minutes and 40 seconds at its peak.

When the moon actually covers the sun in its entirety, the suns tenuous atmosphere or the haze around it — the corona — will glow and be visible.


Also, visible will be what is called the “Diamond Ring Effect” and the “Baileys Beads” as the moon covers and leaves the sun.

 At the time of the total eclipse, the temperature will drop, in 1979 a drop of 15 degrees was recorded. Because of the darkness it causes, it is a confusing time for animals and plants, who might think momentarily, it’s bedtime.

The path that the solar eclipse will follow across the United States of America is approximately 70 miles wide. The total eclipse will be viewed in fourteen states. The rest of the United States will only see partial views. All of this is pending weather conditions.

Aside from the astrological aspect of the solar eclipse, spiritually for some, it manifests itself much like a new moon. With the sun being our external self, and the moon a time to put a plan in place for our goals.

Today I am thankful

  • What an excellent time to be alive. To witness this spectacular event.
  • I am off my exercise and diet routine and feeling it. This week will be about getting back on track.
  • A sad week ahead. Saying farewell to another auntie who blessed our lives.
  • A lot of words to write. Ready to get this done.
  • I am sending love into the universe to those I miss so very, very much.

I have always liked the stories and quotes about the sun and moon. How the sun loved the moon so much, she died every night so he could shine. There are many versions of it, each culture has their own tale.

Today will be the ultimate in that story, won’t it?

affectionately yours, Laura

***This is not a drill, please, wear certified eye protection today. If you have solar sunglasses, they should have the International Certification #12312-2 imprinted on the inside of them. Anything else, if a fake.

Without the proper protection of solar filters, you can experience what is called “Eclipse Blindness.” That happens when your eye’s retina is burned from sun exposure. Because the retina does not have any pain receptors, you do not know you have done any damage immediately. It will show up approximately 12-hours later in the form of severely blurred vision and the inability to focus.


Gratitude 19August17 “Undies all in a Bunch”


1913 Suffrage Parade

Women’s Suffrage Parade March 3, 1913, on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. | The Atlantic

 The 19th amendment to the United States Constitution giving women the right to vote was passed by Congress on June 4, 1919. It was ratified into law on August 18, 1920.

Amendment XIX. The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Despite the language of the amendment, this did not include all races of women.

Native American women could not vote until 1924. Asian women couldn’t vote until 1952. Black women did not obtain the right to vote until 1964.

Historically, it should be noted that it was not until the 1980’s that women began to turn out to the polls in the same numbers as men.

Today I am thankful

  • I am indebted to the women who came before me. The Seneca Fall Convention women, the Suffrage women, warrior women — Keller, Roosevelt, Monroe, Friedan, Steinem, Davis, Angelou, Day-O’Connor, Waters — the list in my mind goes on and on.
  • The women I look to in my life that are true friends. I value their unconditional friendship, commitment to honesty, and life lessons they impart.
  • I am so excited. I get to be with some of these women this weekend.

I look at these dates, and I think “Damn, that’s not that long ago.”


Women's March

Women’s March on Washington January 21, 2017, on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. |

People wondered what the big deal was about the Women’s March in January. For many of us, the intent was very personal. Some are confused as to why we “have our undies all in a bunch,” as my dad would so eloquently put it.

We continue to meet once a month to make positive changes for women. There is constant communication with the current administration on behalf of women’s rights — Calls, emails, postcards, faxes.

When an administration of white men make decisions on women’s rights, health, and well-being without the presence and input of women of all backgrounds our fight will continue.

affectionately yours, Laura

Gratitude 17August17 White Mom

The happenings of the past days have hit home in a very personal way.

I am the mom of two black children and two black grandchildren.

Unlike some people who will tell you, “I don’t see color,” I will tell you I see color very clearly. It is a reality of our society.

What I will tell you is this, the color of a person’s skin never mattered to me.

My oldest brother had down syndrome. That is when an individual get’s an extra set of chromosomes at conception. They look different and face challenges based on the severity of their disability.

I have written before on my blog, my greatest life lesson came through my brother about treating people who are different than me with kindness and not differently.

Through a series of events in my life, I was placed in situations that exposed me to people of all ethnicities. As a young person, I didn’t judge people. I was raised up to that point, without any pre-disposed attitudes about different cultures in my home.

No one told me until my teenage dating years that “races” don’t mix. That for a “good” white girl, I should no longer be hanging around a certain “color” of friends that I had been best friends with since I was young.

I learned what a racist was. I learned what it was like to be labeled a lover of a person of color. I learned what it was like to be shamed for my beliefs.

At that point, even as a young person, I understood people are people no matter what color they are. What mattered was their intent on your well being. 

I gave birth to two children. I understood that because they were of mixed race, that came with great responsibility. It was important to expose them to both of their cultures but especially their black heritage. As well as, teach them about and keeping them connected with positive black role models.

As we are seeing in the media recently, despite that mix of white in their blood, they are seen as black to society. For many years, what is called the “One-drop rule,” has been the legal definition of black for taking the census. And that is to have one drop of black blood.

I had a rather unique situation with my children and grandchildren. They were born with light brown skin and soft curls. Their racial mix was not always obvious. 

So unless they are with their dad, or family, most do not connect their ethnicity right away. There was nevertheless, the need to prepare them for challenges because of their race with friends, school, work place and any given situation as it presented itself. 

I am active in both of my grandchildren’s lives. I try in my own way to keep them connected to their backgrounds. My granddaughter is still very young and I will begin buying her books about girls who look like her, and successful black women. She is blessed to have my daughter and an aunt as role models.

My grandson, who will be 18, and I have had many conversations about the fact he is black. We talk about his lineage through his dad, his amazing black history, and now I will start talking to him about how important this moment in history is for him to acknowledge.

He recently has been driving around with his friends. We had a conversation about what to do if the police stopped them. I will not have him caught unaware.

My children were raised to see color. They were raised to acknowledge the reality of the how’s and why’s society acclimates each race. They know their history and proudly embrace who they are as individuals. They sadly have each experienced racial discrimination first-hand.

They both have family and friends of all races, religions, and sexual identities. They are open-minded, caring, individuals.

As a mother, in this political and racial environment, I could not hope for more. Yet, I worry about my babies every single day. There is not a day I do not begin and end it with prayers for their safety and blessings of wisdom.

I would be foolish to be ignorant to not acknowledge the challenges they face every step they walk into their day. To not believe that is the definition of privilege.

Two interesting life lessons I have embraced is that through my life I haven’t always made good choices. Some would like to blame it on the company I kept. Marilyn Monroe was quoted as saying “And never have regrets. Because at one point everything you did was exactly what you wanted.” In reality, I have learned to take responsibility and be accountable for my choices in my life.

Second, interestingly, as a white woman, I have remained white — I mean that in terms of how I talk, my lexicon, my individuality — I have witnessed some people try to become immersed in a culture that is not theirs. I have always functioned within my culture, as I am accepted.

We are witnessing a concerning moment in history. A time that easily could become a second Civil Rights movement in our country. The Civil Rights page has disappeared from the White House website. A movement is consuming our country that has given permission to express hatred of people who are different than others.

I don’t have all the answers. This I do know. I am one individual who can make my choice positive ones. I, as an American, have one vote to change who is in charge of our government. That is a start.

Today I am thankful

  • Praying for the people of Barcelona as the images come across our televisions. God bless them and comfort them.
  • I am so excited for this weekend. I value time with family and friends.
  • I am grateful for my sea salt. Silly, I know. It makes me feel better with the concept.
  • I am hoping for a painting nite in my near future. The Picasso in me is getting antsy. Oh, Pam!

My views haven’t changed. People are people. What I look at is the intent.

affectionately yours, Laura


Gratitude 16August17 Life Goals

Today I am thankful

  • It is a writing day. The process of turning blogs into essays and editing them has proven to be quite a challenge.
  • A rainy day in South Saint Paul. The view is actually quite lovely out my window.
  • I have discovered “Complete meals in tin foil” Tonight I am attempting a salmon creation.
  • My Pink Himalayan Salt lamp. It is soothing and creates a peaceful ambiance.

I saw this picture of a neon sign listing random things to do. It struck me as a good list of life goals. On the list is a bit of everything we all should do to experience the best of life.

My favorites are eating cake for breakfast, learn the cha-cha, and live colorfully.

After my recent belly dancing mishap, I might delay the cha-cha, but I did have strawberry shortcake for breakfast!

Do something on the list today. #goals

affectionately yours, Laura

Gratitude 15August17 Lessons From the Land of Oz

img_6376I watched The Wizard of Oz recently. I always watch it once a year. It is a fall tradition for me, I am a tad early this year.

While watching it, I decided to look at it with the purpose of paying attention to the lessons in the movie.

Foremost would be, avoid tornadoes and if you are in one, don’t look out the window where you could hit your head, lose consciousness, and end up in Oz. Too obvious?

You’ll remember at the beginning of the movie Dorothy, an orphan, is living with her aunt and uncle on their farm. She is a conflicted teenager on the cusp of adulthood.

She has her future ahead of her and sings about it longingly in the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Her innocence in the song captures all of her dreams.

With the tornado being viewed as any challenging life transition that throws our lives into a twirling mess, Dorothy enters her journey into the discovery of self.

Dorothy is made into a hero along the likes of Harry Potter or Luke Skywalker. She is just an ordinary child, who has parental birth issues and a challenged childhood. Along the way she faces the good and bad of life that she must battle with many lessons to be learned. And in the end, like almost all hero’s in movies, she comes out alright.

The second is, throughout the movie, Dorothy must stand up for her moral values without fear of the consequences The movie starts off with the first of these situations when Toto, her beloved dog bites Miss Gulch in the leg.  She goes on to defend the Lion, stands up to the Wicked Witch of the West, and the Oz himself.

Her ultimate is when she misses her ride “home” in the balloon because she makes a choice to chase after Toto who had run into the crowd after a kitten and not leave him behind.

In that, she ultimately finds her own power with the help of Glinda, the good witch, of clicking her heels together three times and repeating “There’s no place like home.” to take herself back.

Today I am thankful

  • “Being president doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are,” Michelle Obama
  • A rough day. Struggling. In that, I am still grateful.

My favorite part of The Wizard of Oz is not the clicking of the ruby shoes. It is Dorothy’s declaration once she is awake in her bed again. “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it begin with.” 

That quote is the life lesson that Dorothy learned on her journey to Oz. Happiness is found within ourselves. Our power is found within ourselves. We will not find completion outside our own “backyard.”

affectionately yours, Laura




Gratitude 14August17 The Letter “W”

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter “W.”

W, as in World War 3.

The saber sparing of words between the United States of America and North Korea’s president’s last week has many of us on edge.

Add to the madness, our president has now made veiled threats of possible military intervention in Venezuela.

Many family and friends I have talked to, in addition to the online comments I have read, and the extensive coverage in the media– express the fear of the reality of a World War 3 that would involve nuclear war weapons.

It would seem, these authoritarian leaders are living in a real-life Nintendo war game fantasy, and we are just guests in their world waiting for it to go up in smoke.

I did some research on war. If this whole thing goes to “hell in a hand basket” as my dad used to say, I want to know how this will go down.

Bear with me, it is quite a bit of a word jumble.

The United States Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war.

Declaration of War is a formal, legislative act that informs the world of a state of war existing between the bodies named in the declaration, and reveals that a long, drawn-out conflict is the subject of such a declaration.” ACLJ Congressional Approval and Military Action by Wesley Smith

However, the president, as Commander-in-Chief, has broad constitutional powers. The governing body has long given the President the sole right to speak on behalf of our nation regarding the global conflicts around the world.

The War Powers Act, which Congress designed to limit a President’s power to commit United States troops to combat, was passed as a Joint Resolution in 1973. The Act concedes that the commander-in-chief role gives the President power to repel attacks against the United States and makes the President responsible for the leading the armed forces.” ACLJ Congressional Approval and Military Action by Wesley Smith

In essence, whatever the President “perceives” as an attack on the United States of America, he is within his right to declare war to protect the nation.

North Korea’s threat to Guam quickly falls into that category.

I am not so sure about Venezuela’s situation. We have witnessed how successful it is to go in and rescue a nation from itself.

Once the President has taken military action, he has 48-hours to notify the Congress.

As commander-in-chief, the arsenal of weapons of the United States military is at his disposal. That includes nuclear weapons.

I was reading that survival gear and bomb shelter sales have never been better since January 2017. Always one to be prepared, I found an excellent article, “How to Pack an Emergency Kit for Any Disaster.”

Always one to be ready, I found an excellent article, “How to Pack an Emergency Kit for Any Disaster.” I’ll attach the link for you. I am slowly gathering resources. Gas mask, anyone? Recyclable portable water filter? Radio with fresh batteries?

Today I am thankful

  • I have to admit, it is a sad day for me. Today I will go to the funeral of an auntie who was a delight, and yesterday an auntie who was the sweetest, ended her life journey. I will have another funeral this week. I am so thankful for each of their lives. I am so grateful for the lessons they imparted.
  • I am thankful to be an American. With that being said, the behavior within my country has me feeling shame.
  • A challenging week ahead with many words that need to be written and submitted.

A friend wrote he was scared of this whole damn mess. But, if this was the way it was going to end, he was going out laughing and playing his favorite music really loud.

It sounds like a plan to me.

Be safe, my dear friends and take a moment to be kind to someone today. We all are in need of extra kindness with all of this craziness going on.

affectionately yours, Laura